Alleged Unlawful Termination: Industrial Court Dismisses Case Against Construction Firm

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Hon. Justice Edith Agbakoba of the National Industrial Court, Abuja Judicial Division has dismissed the case filed by one Musa Isah filed against S.C.C (NIG.) LTD challenging his alleged unlawful employment termination for lack of proof.

Justice Agbakoba ruled that the very document that relates to Musa’s appointment was not tendered and the court is unable to make a determination as to the Terms and Conditions governing the relationship between the parties.

From facts, the claimant- Mr. Musa Isah had sought an ORDER of the Honourable court compelling S.C.C (NIG.) LTD to issue an apology in writing for the wrongful termination of his employment on the basis of a false allegation by a letter dated the 11th of February, 2019 and the sum of Five Million Naira (N5, 000,000) as general damages for the Trauma and Mental Stress caused to him as a result of the alleged unlawful Detention by the Nigerian Police Force at the instance of the Defendant.

Mr. Musa Isah averred that he was employed by S.C.C (NIG.) LTD in 2010 and was a Bulldozer Operator until the termination of his employment, and the company has refused to issue him with his pension certificate and a letter of Introduction to his pension funds administrator to enable him process his pension. 

In defense, the defendant- S.C.C (NIG.) LTD pleaded that the termination of Musa Isah’s employment was premised on the breach of the National Joint Industrial Council (NJIC) Agreement on Terms and Conditions, and the Defendant was not responsible for the investigation, arrest or alleged detention of the Claimant.

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The Company pleaded not responsible for the issuance of a pension certificate that the claimant has not presented himself for final clearance and has also not applied for a letter of introduction to his pension administrator, urged the court to dismiss the case for lack of proof.

Delivering judgment after careful evaluation of the submission of both parties, the Presiding Judge, Justice Edith Agbakoba held that the Pension Reform Act provide that pension claims under the Act can only be by retirees who have attained the age of 50 years, and there is nothing before the Court to establish that Mr. Musa had attained the age of 50 so as to establish that Mr. Musa had attained the age of 50 so as to enable the Court to make an order that the Company issue the said letters. 

Justice Agbakoba held that Mr. Musa neither pleaded nor present any evidence or argument in support of how his employment termination was wrongful as the document that relates to his appointment was not tendered and the court is unable to make a determination as to the Terms and Conditions governing the relationship between the Claimant and Defendant in this suit.

On Musa’s claim for the sum of Five Million Naira (N5, 000,000) as general damages against the defendant for the Trauma and Mental Stress caused by the alleged unlawful detention by the Nigerian Police Force at the instance of his employer, the Court ruled that a claim for Trauma and Mental stress requires proof by relevant medical evidence such as a psychiatric report or psych evaluation to enable the court to appraise the diagnosis, prognosis, nature of required intervention or treatment and incidental duration, and Musa has provided nothing on which the Court can rely to assess damages.

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